Home World Mauritius’ high courtroom decriminalizes same-sex relations

Mauritius’ high courtroom decriminalizes same-sex relations

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PORT-LOUIS — The Supreme Court docket of Mauritius has struck out a colonial-era legislation criminalizing same-sex relations, bucking a pattern elsewhere in Africa the place a string of nations have handed or proposed anti-LGBTQ laws.

In a ruling on two circumstances introduced by members of the homosexual neighborhood within the Indian Ocean island nation, the courtroom mentioned part 250 of the Mauritian prison code, which dated again to 1898 throughout British colonial rule, was unconstitutional.

“Part 250 was not launched in Mauritius to replicate any indigenous Mauritian values however was inherited as a part of our colonial historical past from Britain,” the courtroom mentioned in a ruling handed down on Wednesday.

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Jean-Daniel Wong, the supervisor of the Arc-en-Ciel Collective, the most important LGBTQ advocacy group in Mauritius, mentioned the ruling was an enormous reduction.

“As an out homosexual man in Mauritius, personally, there was sort of this Damocles sword hanging over our head,” he advised Reuters. “There may be nonetheless lots to do however … we place confidence in our public establishments.”

He mentioned the group’s subsequent priorities have been to attain authorized recognition for transgender individuals, legalize same-sex unions and combat hate crimes based mostly on sexuality.

The federal government, the defendant within the circumstances, had mentioned that whereas it was sympathetic to the arguments put ahead by LGBT residents, the values of wider society meant that the time was not proper to vary the legislation by parliament.

However the Supreme Court docket mentioned the outdated legislation “criminalises the one pure method for the plaintiffs and different gay males to have sexual activity, whereas heterosexual males are permitted the correct to have sexual activity in a method which is pure to them”.

UNAIDS, the United Nations company answerable for combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic, mentioned the ruling was an necessary step ahead for public well being and in the direction of equal rights and respect for the LGBTQ neighborhood.

The Mauritian ruling stands in sharp distinction to developments elsewhere in Africa, most just lately in Uganda which handed one of many world’s harshest anti-LGBTQ legal guidelines in Could, imposing the loss of life penalty for some same-sex acts.

Uganda’s transfer triggered a global outcry and prompted some donors to chop help. However lawmakers in various different African international locations together with Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan are working to usher in comparable laws.

Supporters of such legal guidelines say same-sex relations are unnatural and that Africans should resist what they see because the imposition of Western values. Rights teams commonly say anti-LGBTQ legal guidelines should not African however have been imposed by former imperial powers.

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